It’s an interesting question. When you craft your employee portal or intranet navigation what do users come to first?

This was a tough bit of dialog at my client intranet governance workshop last week. The organization has a headquarters, regional offices and local sites. Sound familiar? When trying to get your users to the stuff they need to work, do you pass them through the other layers first? If you don’t, will they miss critical news and information?

Generally, the corporate folks think that there simply must be a top, corporate level intranet. But, if it is separate, will the corporate content be ignored for the content and tools I really need?

My client team made a remarkably forward thinking decision this week. They decided it is the regional view that is most important for users and that corporate information and tasks should be integrated into those spaces as appropriate. There will be no “corporate or global site” visible to the users. Local teams will have either a page off their regional site, or a whole sub site where volume and need for functionality warrants. A set of global navigation will enable access to communities and cross functional teams, along with all the jazzy things employees need just because they are employees (read: expense reimbursement, training, benies, etc.).

It’s not an amazing plan. What’s amazing is that the client team took the time to think it through. They brought regional people together with corporate folks IN A ROOM to work out this and other issues. It was really a cool pleasure to sit back and watch them work their magic.